The House Insurance Appraisal Process – Know What to Expect

Getting a house appraisal for house insurance
Feb 20

If you have an older or unique home your insurer may request to have an insurance appraisal completed on your house.  These appraisals are arranged through the insurance company, and surprisingly it will cost you nothing. You may wonder why the insurance company is spending all that money for a peek at your interior design skills. Ultimately, the insurance company wants to make sure they know what they are insuring and that you are getting the best coverage for your home.

So what is the appraiser looking at when they come to your home?

  • The Roof: It goes without saying that the condition of the roof on a home can cause many hassles. A suspect roof could quickly turn into significant water damage costing $10,000 or more. The appraiser will take a peek at your roof and let you know of any areas of concern, and will also give you an idea of your roof’s life expectancy.
  • Wood Stoves:  If your home has a wood stove there are some specific code considerations that will need to be met. Often houses have had their woodstove installed at a time when the building code was less stringent. Many homeowners find themselves needing to update the surround or moving their stove altogether. The appraiser will let you know if that is something you need to do at your home.
  • The Presence of Oil Tanks: The appraiser will take a peak at any oil tanks on the property to make sure that they are up to date.  Oil spills from older tanks are not only costly but also have a huge environmental impact. One family in the Gorge area recently spend their savings (over $30,000) cleaning up a terrible mess that occurred when their older oil tank ruptured and contaminated the land and river near their home.
  • Electrical and Power: The appraiser will check to make sure don’t have any hidden knob & tube wiring. The old style knob-and-tube method of running power cables is very susceptible to arcing and causing fires. They’ll also make sure you are running the correct electrical amperage for your household’s needs.
  • Plumbing and Septic:  The appraiser will do a check of your pipes for cracks or leaks, and will take a look at the material used for the plumbing lines.  Some older materials have a shorter life expectancy and none of us want a sewer line to back up.
  • Liability & Claims: The appraiser will take a look around your home and property to see any areas that may cause a potential liability claim.  If there are stairs without handrails, pools without fences the appraiser will point those items out and give you some recommendations to make you home a safer place
  • Replacement Value of the Home:  Some homes just don’t fit into the home evaluation calculator that we use to determine your home’s rebuilding value.  Appraisers are experts in these types of homes and will come up with a far more accurate rebuilding value for your home.  Some homes do have an increase in building value after the appraisal is completed, but others actually go down and the cost of your policy decreases, which means more money in your pocket.

Most insurance policies do require that if an appraisal is requested that it must be completed.  However, you will never get a stranger knock on your door telling you that they need to complete an appraisal (if that happens please call 911).  Your agent will always call or e-mail you first to let you know an appraiser will be contacting you shortly.  You can then arrange an appointment time that works best for you and your family directly with the appraisal company.

Get Your House Insurance Quote Online

Once you feel that your house is in insurable shape and you wish to compare some house insurance quotes, jump over to our ‘online house insurance quote form‘ and in 10 minutes you’ll have multiple quotes to look over. Once you do that we will be happy to scan them over with you and help determine which would be the best fit for your unique situation.

Get started with our online quote comparison tool.